Inspired | April-May 2021

Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in April and May: not killing your darlings, photography’s place in the art world, leaving social media, and more.

A Case Against Killing Your Darlings by R.O. Kwon: “I refuse, so here’s what I believe: I want any novel I write to be full of darlings. If possible, all darlings. I don’t want any published novel of mine to include a single line that bores me, that hasn’t been shaped, pressed, and attentively loved into the most truthful, living version of itself.”

A Writer’s Response to the Pandemic by Scott Myers: “One thing the current pandemic compels writers to do is to get us to stop and really think about who we are as storytellers, why we do what we do, and what do we want to do with the rest of our creative lives.”

Obscura No More by Andy Grundberg: “The eradication of photography’s separate-but-not-quite-equal status within the art world—its triumph as an art form—has been important, but equally important is the crucial position that photography and other lens-based media have come to occupy throughout our culture, not only by representing it but also in large part by producing it.”

Six Months Off Social Media by David duChemin: “I slammed the door behind me as I left Facebook and Instagram in September last year, cloaked in a mix of relief and fear.”

People Are Ready To Log Off Social Media For Good by Shannon Keating: “A lot of people have been examining why they’re compelled to post anything in the first place.”

TikTok and the Vibes Revival ($) by Kyle Chayka

A vibe can be positive, negative, beautiful, ugly, or just unique. It can even become a quality in itself: if something is vibey, it gives off an intense vibe or is particularly amenable to vibes. Vibes are a medium for feeling, the kind of abstract understanding that comes before words put a name to experience. That pre-linguistic quality makes them well suited to a social-media landscape that is increasingly prioritizing audio, video, and images over text. Through our screens, vibes are being constantly emitted and received.

The secret ingredient of comfort food? Struggle. by Kara Baskin: “Time will tell which of those pandemic-driven changes will persist. But for some clues about the diet and dynamics of food in the future, it’s helpful to look at the challenges of the past.”

What’s the most interesting thing you saw online this month?